Mr. Jordan goes to Washington

The classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the story of an idealistic local hero, Jefferson Smith, who's appointed to the U.S. Senate.  Smith's chosen because he's naïve and gullible, and James Taylor, the corrupt Washington power-broker, needs someone who will "take orders." 

But when Smith proposes a boy's camp on the same land as Taylor's dam-building graft scheme, Taylor vows to destroy Smith.  But how?  Smith's the leader of Boy Rangers, a squeaky-clean guy.  

Solution: Smear Smith.  Run him out of the Senate. 

Now, I never believed that the Washington machine could just invent charges to smear a member of Congress and make it stick or that media would ever collectively abandon journalistic integrity and go along with the scheme. 

Yet today, this very plot is unfolding before us: a new Jefferson Smith, Jim Jordan, framed by our very own Taylor machine, the establishment and media.

Jordan's in establishment crosshairs because he has the temerity to run for speaker of the House.  He should know better – the GOPe picks its own leadership.  These people installed John Boehner and Paul Ryan, two "beauties," as the president would say, and are now pushing Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy was forced out of his last run for speaker over his purported "slip" that the Benghazi investigation was to drive Hillary's numbers down and it worked.  His performance saved Hillary, made the Benghazi hearing look like a political witch hunt. 

McCarthy's back, but Jordan's gaining support.  

So the cabal hatches a plan.

1. First, bring fake charges that 30 years ago, Jordan as assistant wrestling coach was aware that the coach sexually abused boys and did nothing to stop it. 

2. The press gets the story out, asserts that the charges complicate Jordan's bid for speaker.  

3. Paul Ryan says he can't defend Jordan because the charge is "serious."  This is the new McCarthyism, where a person is branded, tried, and convicted on the "seriousness" of the charges.

4. Finally, Paul Ryan remains speaker until after the midterms, when the House will be safe from voter retribution.  He will have two full years for the new speaker to be "normalized," for the people to accept and forget. 

I always thought Americans would fight authoritarian rule with their last breath.  Yet we seem to accept these rigged elections as an internal matter.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In today's House, the speaker functions as a "de facto American prime minister – leader of national legislature, setter of its agenda." 

Paul Ryan sets his agenda behind closed doors, writes bills in seclusion, then brings them for a vote with little or no time for members to read them.  Ryan did this with Ryancare, omnibus bills, amnesty, and others. 

But we have 435 members in the House of Representatives.  They don't have to vote with Ryan. 

Okay, 193 of those representatives are Democrats, AKA the walking dead.  They mindlessly stumble along, only turn to bright shiny objects, loud noises, distractions.

With the exception of a handful of conservatives, Republicans fall in line, let leadership call the shots.

No, congressional leadership isn't a private matter, and we the people had better let our voices be heard.  If they can frame Jim Jordan, leave lame-duck Ryan as speaker, then impose another RINO, we seal our own fate, allowing a handful of establishment puppets to run the country. 

But hey, in the movie, the good guys win in the end, right?

Actually, no.  Jefferson Smith can't defeat the powerful government and media cabal.  After filibustering for hours,, he collapses from exhaustion, unable to carry on the fight, to prevent his eviction from the Senate, to stop the Taylor machine. 

Smith prevails because Senator Paine grows a conscience, can no longer sanction the lies, the graft, the Taylor autocracy.  Paine is so ashamed of what he's become that he runs onto the Senate floor and loudly confesses his ties with the Taylor syndicate, exposes the corrupt Senate, and vindicates Smith.

That could happen with us.  A remorseful senator could run onto the Senate floor and denounce the evil shadow government, expose his "esteemed colleagues," lay bare the criminal underbelly of Washington. 

Uh, no, that's not going to happen.  Turns out Senator Paine's act of contrition is the only real fiction in the movie.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.

The classic movie Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is the story of an idealistic local hero, Jefferson Smith, who's appointed to the U.S. Senate.  Smith's chosen because he's naïve and gullible, and James Taylor, the corrupt Washington power-broker, needs someone who will "take orders." 

But when Smith proposes a boy's camp on the same land as Taylor's dam-building graft scheme, Taylor vows to destroy Smith.  But how?  Smith's the leader of Boy Rangers, a squeaky-clean guy.  

Solution: Smear Smith.  Run him out of the Senate. 

Now, I never believed that the Washington machine could just invent charges to smear a member of Congress and make it stick or that media would ever collectively abandon journalistic integrity and go along with the scheme. 

Yet today, this very plot is unfolding before us: a new Jefferson Smith, Jim Jordan, framed by our very own Taylor machine, the establishment and media.

Jordan's in establishment crosshairs because he has the temerity to run for speaker of the House.  He should know better – the GOPe picks its own leadership.  These people installed John Boehner and Paul Ryan, two "beauties," as the president would say, and are now pushing Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

McCarthy was forced out of his last run for speaker over his purported "slip" that the Benghazi investigation was to drive Hillary's numbers down and it worked.  His performance saved Hillary, made the Benghazi hearing look like a political witch hunt. 

McCarthy's back, but Jordan's gaining support.  

So the cabal hatches a plan.

1. First, bring fake charges that 30 years ago, Jordan as assistant wrestling coach was aware that the coach sexually abused boys and did nothing to stop it. 

2. The press gets the story out, asserts that the charges complicate Jordan's bid for speaker.  

3. Paul Ryan says he can't defend Jordan because the charge is "serious."  This is the new McCarthyism, where a person is branded, tried, and convicted on the "seriousness" of the charges.

4. Finally, Paul Ryan remains speaker until after the midterms, when the House will be safe from voter retribution.  He will have two full years for the new speaker to be "normalized," for the people to accept and forget. 

I always thought Americans would fight authoritarian rule with their last breath.  Yet we seem to accept these rigged elections as an internal matter.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.  In today's House, the speaker functions as a "de facto American prime minister – leader of national legislature, setter of its agenda." 

Paul Ryan sets his agenda behind closed doors, writes bills in seclusion, then brings them for a vote with little or no time for members to read them.  Ryan did this with Ryancare, omnibus bills, amnesty, and others. 

But we have 435 members in the House of Representatives.  They don't have to vote with Ryan. 

Okay, 193 of those representatives are Democrats, AKA the walking dead.  They mindlessly stumble along, only turn to bright shiny objects, loud noises, distractions.

With the exception of a handful of conservatives, Republicans fall in line, let leadership call the shots.

No, congressional leadership isn't a private matter, and we the people had better let our voices be heard.  If they can frame Jim Jordan, leave lame-duck Ryan as speaker, then impose another RINO, we seal our own fate, allowing a handful of establishment puppets to run the country. 

But hey, in the movie, the good guys win in the end, right?

Actually, no.  Jefferson Smith can't defeat the powerful government and media cabal.  After filibustering for hours,, he collapses from exhaustion, unable to carry on the fight, to prevent his eviction from the Senate, to stop the Taylor machine. 

Smith prevails because Senator Paine grows a conscience, can no longer sanction the lies, the graft, the Taylor autocracy.  Paine is so ashamed of what he's become that he runs onto the Senate floor and loudly confesses his ties with the Taylor syndicate, exposes the corrupt Senate, and vindicates Smith.

That could happen with us.  A remorseful senator could run onto the Senate floor and denounce the evil shadow government, expose his "esteemed colleagues," lay bare the criminal underbelly of Washington. 

Uh, no, that's not going to happen.  Turns out Senator Paine's act of contrition is the only real fiction in the movie.

Image: Gage Skidmore via Flickr.